About Lois Svard
I’ve been playing the piano since the age of 5, have performed at festivals and on concert series throughout the US and in Europe, and have made several recordings – all containing music written for me by some very exceptional composers. For nearly three decades I was professor of music at Bucknell University where, among other things, I taught piano, a multidisciplinary course on the creative process, and a course on neuroscience and music – from the musician’s point of view.
About twenty-five years ago – on the way to exploring something else – I discovered the then relatively new field of neuroscience and music, and quickly became fascinated. The implications of this research for practicing musicians seemed enormous to me. I eventually “retired” from performing and immersed myself in studying neuroscience and music. I read thousands of research studies, spoke with dozens of neuroscientists about their research, took neuroscience courses, enlisted the aid of my piano students to explore applications for this research (they were willing – even eager – guinea pigs), and began writing about what this research means for a musician. Before retiring from Bucknell University, I taught a course called “Making Music: Mind/Brain/Body,” in which neuroscience students, music students, and students from other disciplines who were also involved in music, explored the real-life applications of some of this brain research. I learned a lot from questions and observations raised by those students, as well as from students in Life Long Learning courses, which I later taught.
I began writing a blog, The Musician’s Brain, about ten years ago, exploring music, the brain, and learning. My book The Musical Brain: what students, teachers, and performers need to know, has recently been released by Oxford University Press.
Click on the Performance link in the menu above for more information about my life as a performer.